Cowley off to new position in Bhisho provincial legislature
DA CAUCUS leader in Ndlambe, Jane Cowley, has been appointed to the Eastern Cape provincial legislature in Bhisho.
“It is all very new,” said Cowley who applied for the position in September when five positions were open.
“It was a hectic selection process. There were 40 people in the electoral college held in Mpekweni in the middle of September where we had to make a short speech of three minutes on a topic linked to our vision and answer questions from the floor.”
“Twelve candidates were then selected to go to the final selection panel in Port Elizabeth last week, which included [Nelson Mandela Metro mayor] Athol Trollip and was really tough. We had to get there five minutes early to select a topic and talk for five minutes, and answer questions,” she said.
But she gave it her best shot, and was surprised to hear that she had been accepted as she knew of people who were not accepted after six or seven attempts.
She received an email from DA provincial director Elmarie Botha, who told her she had been successful, last Sunday.
Cowley will be taking up her new position within a week or two, when she will find out which portfolio she has been given. As a shadow MEC she will stand a chance of being elected to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
Born and educated in Queenstown, she did her BSc and went travelling. After earning her teacher’s diploma, she taught in Bathurst and was principal at Shaw Park Primary for 12 years. She recently earned her Masters in maths from Rhodes University.
After working for the DA on a volunteer basis since 2010, Cowley left teaching in 2011 and became a ward councillor, also becoming chair of her branch in Kleinemonde where she resides.
“Everyone works very hard in their constituency,” she said, “whether it is national, provincial or local.”
“I do not feel that I am going up in the ranks, so much as that I am going into different fields,” she said.
She said she loved working on a local level, she loved community work, but also loved the work as a councillor and being a politician.
“But it is not for the faint-hearted. You need commitment and there is very little glamour. Fortunately I have a very supportive husband and my two boys who are 15 and 16 are in hostel in Grahamstown,” she said.
She thanked fellow councillor Ray Schenk, who has also served as caucus leader, and former MP Andrew Whitfield who recently moved from the National Assembly to the mayor’s office in PE.
“He was our mentor for the last two years and very supportive,” Cowley said.
Speculating as to who will replace her, Cowley said there are many talented candidates and the process involves appointing a person from an electoral list, but the list will start de novo. Anyone on the list who wants to be elected therefore has to re-apply, she said.